2 minute read
4 Mar 2015
10:05 pm

Stars hold Bucs ahead of Soweto derby

Orlando Pirates lost momentum in the build-up to this weekend's Soweto Derby, settling for a 1-1 draw in their Premiership fixture against Free State Stars in Phuthaditjhaba on Wednesday night.

Kermit Erasmus. Pic: Gallo Images.

The Buccaneers stretched their unbeaten run to eight straight league games, taking the early lead before Stars hit back in an electric first half, but the hosts put an end to their four-match winning streak.

“We always knew it was going to be very difficult. I thought we started extremely well and our movement was very good, but we got the goal and then I don’t know what happened,” said Bucs coach Eric Tinkler.

“We stopped doing the right things at the right moments, our crossing was poor, our decision-making in the final third was poor and that last pass always let us down, so that created difficulties for us.”

Looking to bag three points away from home, in an effort to place some pressure on runaway log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, the visitors moved in front in the eighth minute when Kermit Erasmus collected a neat through ball down the middle, flicked on by Mpho Makola, and sliced the ball in from just inside the area.

With Pirates throwing all their weight into defence before the break, however, Moeketsi Sekola equalised for Stars from long range to leave matters square at the interval.

The home side could have taken the lead six minutes later, after Bucs shot stopper Brighton Mhlongo fumbled two saves, but they were wayward with their repeated strikes.

Both sides created multiple chances in the second half, but they struggled to really threaten the opposition defence with their finishing, as the match ended in a stalemate.

Stars piled on the pressure in the latter stages, in an attempt to cause an upset, but they wasted their opportunities to remain entrenched in the bottom half of the table.

“It was a balanced game and we created a few chances going forward, but so did they, and all in all I think the boys played very well and put up a good fight ,” said Stars coach Kinnah Phiri.

“Looking at Pirates as a top team in this country, I’m happy the midfield and defence stood very firm.

“They scored a goal from a lapse in defence, but I think after that we stood very strongly.”